Jim Nabors Gomer

September 4, 2011 by staff 

Jim Nabors GomerJim Nabors Gomer, If you’re on the trail of something different in the Finger Lakes, there is always room for Jell-O Museum.

The Jell-O Gallery opened in LeRoy, NY, in 1997 the 100 Th anniversary of the invention the product in this small town 30 miles southwest of Rochester. The gallery now attracts 13,000 visitors a year hungry for ideas about creation, the history of marketing, advertising and social development of a classic American food – all topped with a spoonful of healthy nostalgia.

“Jell-O is an American icon – perhaps more American than apple pie,” said Lynne Belluscio, director of the LeRoy Historical Society, which runs the Jell-O Gallery. However, it is expected that raised eyebrows. “I lose all credibility when I go to conferences of the museum and say, ‘I am the curator of the Jell-O Museum.” “When she took a job at the historical society in 1988, the former industrial arts teacher, says,” I was not thinking that gelatin is going to take control of my life. ”

Pearle Bixby Wait, a carpenter and builder who dabbled in LeRoy patent medicines, which is a form of color and flavor of dry gelatin 114 years ago. His wife, May, named Jell-O product, inspired by Grain-O, a coffee substitute sold in the city. No get rich with things and in 1899 sold the rights to Jell-O and 450 to neighbor Orator F. Woodward, who continued production in LeRoy. In the early going, he also found the company to be something of a lemon (one of four original Jell-O flavors). He offered to sell the business and 35 for the charge of the plant, but the man said no.

A smart marketing at the turn of last century Jell-O concrete future. Well-dressed salespeople widely distributed recipe cards and free samples swelled from door to door and demand. Oil paintings in bright focused molded Jell-O took care of the best artists and reproduced as magazine ads. Several originals now hang in the Jell-O Gallery. In 1906, when Woodward died Jell-O and annual sales reached 1 million.

Son of Edward Woodward sold the Jell-O business, the Postum cereal company and $ 66 million in 1925, a merger that would become General Foods. Jell-O employs 300 people in LeRoy in 1964, when production was moved to Dover. Delaware, and the printing of the boxes are moved to Sarasota Springs, New York (Jell-O is now owned by Kraft.) ” There was a terrible resentment “about the recall Belluscio said. “Some of LeRoy will not allow Jell-O at home.”

Housing Jell-O that is hardly appetizing. Suffice it to say that gelatin is extracted from animal bones and connective tissues. Among the flavors that came and went in the past were of mixed vegetables, celery, tomato and spicy – in shades of brown – chocolate, coffee and Coca-Cola. In 2001, Mattel Barbie doll sells a box packed with a Barbie Very Berry Jell-O and B-shaped mold.

Advertising has been key to the success of Jell-O. Jack Benny became a spokesman for the radio products in 1934. (It was their program that introduced the still familiar JELLO song.) Bill Cosby visited the gallery of Jell-O in 2004 to commemorate his 30 years as Jell-O TV pitchman. (He has a visible inscription in “The Brick Road Jell-O”, which leads to the gallery.) Baby boomers in particular will be attracted to the TV monitor in the gallery and link the gelatin old ads, including:

- Charles Nelson Reilly, sitting at a table full of grapes, oranges, lemons and bananas, imploring each to reveal the secret of the “flavor of freshly harvested fruit flavors of Jell-O.”

- In his folk-sheriff character on “The Andy Griffith Show” Andy enjoys a bowl of jelly with milk and Barney and Opie proclaims, “It’s goo-DOO!”

- Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle directs his hard-nosed sergeant in a kitten with a portion quickly prepared Jell-O Instant Pudding.

- The 5th Dimension brings the top of a box of Jell-O on “cool appetizers like to have everything.”

Visitors to the Gallery of Jell-O (75 bus tours came through last year) are invited to add their personal reminiscences of Jell-O a notepad on the screen. Elizabeth of Rochester wrote: “My mother made Jell-O and drank from a cup.” Brigitte wrote, “I found some I had in the closet for 26 years. I do not, but I thought.” Peg, a 4-H leader, wrote, “Jell-O mold of the brain is used to show why riders should wear a helmet. The brain Jell-O falls and crashes like a real brain that if head of a rider fell to the ground without a helmet. ”

Most likely, you have a memory of Jell-O to share, too.

WHAT Jell-O Gallery

Where 23 E. Main St., LeRoy, N.Y.

INFORMATION 585-768-7433,

HOURS April to December, Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday, 1-4 pm, from January to March, Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm Closed New Year, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter Santa.

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